The minutes are recorded in a single bound gathering measuring 12¼ × 7¾ inches (31 × 20 cm) and containing twenty-four leaves (forty-eight pages). Each page is ruled with thirty-seven lines (now faded). The gathering was bound with string. The gathering, which contains minutes kept by dated from 1 January to 26 November 1842, is the second in a collection of gatherings and bifolia known as the “rough copy” of the Nauvoo City Council minutes. This book has a cover page of thicker, unlined, tan-colored paper on which are inscribed the rough book’s title and the words “Jas. Sloan, Recorder.” Pages 1–48 were paginated by Sloan and inscribed in blue and black ink, with later use marks made in graphite. Titles and numbers appear in the margins of the minutes; these were written contemporaneously and appear to be in Sloan’s handwriting.
was appointed the first city recorder in February 1841. He appears to have kept minutes on loose leaves—some of which are still extant—and then copied them into the rough minute books. He then inscribed a fair copy of the minutes into the Nauvoo City Council Minute Book. By 1842, the more detailed minutes for the city council were entered in the rough minute book; proceedings such as council decisions and ordinances were recorded in the official minute book. The warping of the spines of the rough minute books suggests they were stacked together. These minutes were presumably kept among Nauvoo city records. In 1845, the city of Nauvoo was disincorporated. The city council rough books were listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office (now CHL) in 1846, when they were packed up with church records that were taken to the Salt Lake Valley. Subsequent inventories of church records in Salt Lake City indicate continuous institutional custody.
“An Act to Repeal the Nauvoo Charter,” 14th General Assembly, 1844–1845, Senate Bill no. 35 (House Bill no. 42), Illinois General Assembly, Enrolled Acts of the General Assembly, 1818–2012, Illinois State Archives, Springfield.
Illinois Office of Secretary of State. Enrolled Acts of the General Assembly, 1818–1993. Illinois State Archives, Springfield.
“Inventory. Historian’s Office. 4th April 1855,” ; “Index of Records and Journals in the Historian’s Office 1878,” ; “Index to Papers in the Historians Office,” ca. 1904, 7, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
, city recorder for , Illinois, took the minutes of a 19 May 1842 meeting in which the city council elected JS mayor and conducted other city business. had resigned as mayor just two days before, citing “circumstances of a personal nature”; he had served in that capacity since February 1841. Also on 17 May, Bennett had his name removed from records. In the 19 May meeting, the city council accepted Bennett’s resignation and then elected JS mayor and vice mayor. After each man took his oath of office, the city council proceeded to elect other officers, pass resolutions, make appointments, and address pressing financial concerns.
JS’s journal captured two details of this meeting that were not recorded in the minutes. During the election of officers, JS wrote a revelation and “threw it across the room to .” The revelation warned Kimball not to make evil accusations against JS. The journal also noted that during the council meeting JS asked Bennett to address Bennett’s claims that JS had authorized him to engage in extramarital sexual relations. Bennett responded by saying that JS had not “given me authority to hold illicit intercourse with women” and expressed a hope to be “restored to full confidence. & fellowship.”
As city recorder, apparently took notes during the meeting and then later inscribed the minutes in a record book in which he kept the rough minutes of Nauvoo City Council meetings. He apparently referred to those rough minutes when he recorded the 19 May resolutions and appointments in the Nauvoo City Council Minute Book. Of the two record books, the rough minute book provides the more complete account of the 19 May proceedings, but no substantial differences exist between these two accounts. The version of the minutes in the rough minute book is therefore featured here.
City Council met pursuant to special appointment, opened <by Prayer>
Reading of Minutes of last Meeting dispensed with until the next Meeting.— Names of the Council were called.
The produced & read the Resignation of s, <resignation> <of the> office of Mayor of this , which was <unanimously> Accepted
It was then agreed by <vote of> the Council, unanimously, that the take the Chair until the office of Mayor be filled. The then acted as Chairman, when the following Ballot took place,— For <Lt Genl> Joseph Smith Eighteen, & for Ald[erma]n.One.— Upon which <Genl> Joseph Smith was declared to be duly Elected Mayor of the City of , & he was thereupon Sworn into office, & took the Chair accordingly.
The following Ballot took place for the Election of a Vice Mayor, in the stead of Genl. Joseph Smith, elected Mayor, For Genl. 18.— For 1. For 1.— Upon which Genl. was declared duly Elected, & took the Oath of office.
The following Resolution was then passed.—
Resolved by the City Council of the City of , that the place of , as one of the City Councillors of this , be, & the same is hereby declared vacant, in Consequence of his becoming a nonresident of this .
May 19th. 1842.
The following Ballot took place for the Election of
was elected <a Member of the City> Councillor Council of the City of in the place of , whose place had been declared vacant.
The following Ballot took place for the Election of a <Member for the City> Co[unci]l. in the place of Genl. J. Smith elected Mayor.
For Robert Stone
Whereupon was duly Elected, & declared so accordingly.
According to the council’s “Rules of Order,” when the mayor was absent, the vice mayor, in this case JS, would serve as “President pro tempore” of the council, but given JS’s impending election as mayor, council members seem to have followed the rule allowing them to elect a president in “any Meeting when . . . neither the Mayor, nor the president pro tempore, shall be present.” (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 22 Jan. 1842, 46.)
The Nauvoo charter required that city councilors be residents of Nauvoo. According to the council records, McFall was last in attendance at a city council meeting on 9 April 1842. (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840; Nauvoo City Council Attendance Records, 12 Feb.–9 Apr. 1842, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)